In August 2008, a group of interested A.R.E. members in the Charlottesville, Virginia area got together to discuss the viability of developing local programs. Spearheaded by Joanne DiMaggio, the spiritual Ideal set forth was to provide programs featuring local and national speakers, to offer a safe place where like-minded souls could congregate and network, and to expand on A.R.E.’s mission to “to help people transform their lives for the better, through research, education, and application of core concepts found in the Edgar Cayce readings and kindred materials that seek to manifest the love of God and all people and promote the purposefulness of life, the oneness of God, the spiritual nature of humankind, and the connection of body, mind, and spirit." The first program was held in January 2009 at Unity Church in Charlottesville and the area has been hosting programs ever since. People from all over Virginia, as well as Maryland and West Virginia, attend some of the transformational workshops being held in Charlottesville.
Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) has been called the "sleeping prophet," the "father of holistic medicine," and the most documented psychic of the 20th century. For more than 40 years of his adult life, Cayce gave psychic "readings" to thousands of seekers while in an unconscious state, diagnosing illnesses and revealing lives lived in the past and prophecies yet to come.
But who, exactly, was Edgar Cayce?
Many people are surprised to learn that Edgar Cayce was a devoted churchgoer and Sunday school teacher. At a young age, Cayce vowed to read the Bible for every year of his life, and at the time of his death in 1945, he had accomplished this task. Perhaps the readings said it best, when asked how to become psychic, Cayce’s advice was to become more spiritual.
Although Cayce died more than 60 years ago, the timeliness of the material in the readings — with subjects like how to discover your mission in life, developing your intuition, exploring ancient mysteries, and taking responsibility for your health — is evidenced by the hundreds of books that have been written on the various aspects of this work as well as the dozen or so titles focusing on Cayce's life itself. Together, these books contain information so valuable that even Edgar Cayce himself might have hesitated to predict their impact on the contemporary world. In 1945, the year of his passing, who could have known that terms such as "meditation," "Akashic records," "spiritual growth," "auras," "soul mates," and "holistic health" would become household words to millions?
In addition to study groups and local regional activities, A.R.E. offers membership benefits and services, a quarterly body-mind-spirit member magazine titled Venture Inward, a member newsletter covering topics including ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, and holistic health, publications, conferences, international tours, a massage school curriculum, a retreat-type camp for children and adults, an impressive volunteer network, and A.R.E. contacts across the globe. A.R.E. also maintains an affiliation with Atlantic University (which offers continuing education classes and a master's degree program in Transformative Theories and Practices), and an onsite Health Center & Spa at its Virginia Beach headquarters, where many of the health readings remedies are offered along with massage therapy.
Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc. (A.R.E.®), is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1931 by
Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), to research and explore transpersonal subjects such as holistic health, ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, dreams and dream interpretation, intuition, and philosophy and reincarnation.
With an international headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., a regional headquarters in Houston, regional representatives throughout the U.S., Edgar Cayce Centers in 37 countries, and individual members in more than 70 countries, the A.R.E. community is a global network of individuals who offer conferences, educational activities, and fellowship around the world. Thousands of books have been written on the subject matter found in the readings, and dozens dedicated to the story of Edgar Cayce himself.
Cayce was born on a farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1877, and his psychic abilities began to appear as early as his childhood. He was able to see and talk to his late grandfather's spirit, and often played with "imaginary friends" whom he said were spirits on the other side. He also displayed an uncanny ability to memorize the pages of a book simply by sleeping on it. These gifts labeled the young Cayce as strange, but all Cayce really wanted was to help others, especially children.
Later in life, Cayce would find that he had the ability to put himself into a sleep-like state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. In this state of relaxation and meditation, he was able to place his mind in contact with all time and space — the universal consciousness, also known as the super-conscious mind. From there, he could respond to questions as broad as, "What are the secrets of the universe?" and "What is my purpose in life?" to as specific as, "What can I do to help my arthritis?" and "How were the pyramids of Egypt built? His responses to these questions came to be called "readings," and their insights offer practical help and advice to individuals even today.
The majority of Edgar Cayce's readings deal with holistic health and the treatment of illness. As it was at the time Cayce was giving readings, still today, individuals from all walks of life and belief receive physical relief from illnesses or ailments through information given in the readings — some readings were given as far back as 100 years ago! Yet, although best known for this material, the sleeping Cayce did not seem to be limited to concerns about the physical body. In fact, in their entirety, the readings discuss an astonishing 10,000 different topics. This vast array of subject matter can be narrowed down into a smaller group of topics that, when compiled together, deal with the following five categories: (1) Health-Related Information; (2) Philosophy and Reincarnation; (3) Dreams and Dream Interpretation; (4) ESP and Psychic Phenomena; and (5) Spiritual Growth, Meditation, and Prayer.